Indian golfer Shiv Kapur endured a tough second round, carding a disappointing two-over 72 on a windy day but managed to stay as the best-placed Indian at the USD 5 million Saudi International here on Friday.
Kapur, who shot 65 on the first day, is now three-under for 36 holes and slipped to T-17 from T-4 overnight. Four Indians of the seven who started made the cut.
Apart from Kapur, Shubhankar Sharma (67-71), Rashid Khan (66-75) and Viraj Madappa 71-72) also made the cut.
American Harold Varner III moved past a heavy star cast to take the clubhouse lead mid-way through round two.
He shot four-under-par 66 to reach 10 under. He leads by two from Australian Cameron Smith and Matt Wolff from the United States, after they returned 66 and 67, respectively, in the season-opening event on the 2022-23 Asian Tour.
Shubhankar added 71 to his first round 67 to slip to T-21, while Rashid, starting the day at 4-under, rose to 6-under at one stage, but then crumbled to 5-over 75 and slipped to T-46.
Madappa squeezed inside the cutline despite two bogeys in the last four holes after starting from the tenth. At 3-over 143, he was T-59 as the cut fell at 4-over.
Three other Indians S. Chikkarangappa (72-73), Veer Ahlawat (71-74) and Khalin Joshi missed the cut.
Kapur expected the conditions to be tougher on the second day and he held well for most part of the round. He was even par for the day with two birdies and two bogeys till he came to the 16th. He bogeyed 16 and 18 and instead of hanging inside T-10, he fell to T-17.
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England’s Tommy Fleetwood, after carding a 67 on another windy day, was fifth at a total of 7-under.
Three others including two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson were Tied-6th at 6-under.
Harold Varner III, who began on the back nine, started poorly and was one over for his round after seven holes but then birdied four out of his next five holes.
Smith, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the Sentry Tournament of Champions, made his move on a day with blustery conditions.
"I like it windy," said the Australian, who played on the Asian Tour in 2014.
At the start of the day, American Bryson DeChambeau withdrew from the event with a left hand and left hip injury.
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